Nature and Parks Authority says 70 tons of tar, contaminated material scraped off Israel’s shores so far

The Israel Nature and Parks Authority says some 70 tons of tar and contaminated material have been scraped off and collected along Israel’s shores — from beaches, nature reserves and national parks — since efforts began to tackle last week’s oil spill disaster.

The worst of the pollution remains “on the rocky surfaces on the beaches,” where it is difficult to remove, it says. The sandy surfaces on most beaches are relatively clean, it says, although there are still considerable quantities of lumps and flakes of tar. The cleanup requires “filtering large areas of sand” — work that requires large teams, it says.

“The authority is trying to find effective mechanical and technological measures to grapple with the small lumps of tar, and more advanced measures to tackle the tar on rocky surfaces,” it adds.

Some 2,000 INPA volunteers joined the cleanup today, it says. “Tomorrow, about 200 medical and other staff from hospitals around the country are expected to join the groups of volunteers cleaning and rehabilitating the beaches, including medical teams who have been dealing with the coronavirus for the past year.”

The Environmental Protection Ministry said earlier today that it was beginning its efforts to collect and safely dispose of what is said would be 1,200 tons of tar and contaminated materials from the spill. These will be taken to biological treatment facilities or appropriate landfill sites, the ministry said in a statement. It specified that it was removing and safely disposing of the tar, and materials contaminated by the spill, including “sand and solid waste such as plastic, wood, algae and shells.”

The ministry says most of the contamination that remains now is on rocky surfaces where it is particularly difficult to remove.

A young woman cleans tar off the Palmachim beach following an offshore oil spill that hit most of the Israeli coastline, February 23, 2021. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)